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                    Numbers are power. But they need to be used wisely

Ever since coronavirus started spreading like wildfire in Italy, I’ve been checking the stats every morning to see if the curve is finally flattening. 

74,386 cases, 7,503 deaths. Skyrocketing curves tell an alarming story.  

For the past few days however, it seems like the nationwide lockdown is finally working.

There are two types of graphs that reveal the current situation: linear and logarithmic.

For example, on a linear scale, the rate of coronavirus spread in the United States looks similar to Italy’s. But on a logarithmic scale, the data for Italy clearly shows that the infection rate is no longer exponential. In the US, on the other hand, the number of Americans becoming infected continues to double every three days or so.

What does it indicate? 

It indicates that drastic containment measures work. Countries need to take stringent actions to keep people apart so their logarithmic scales could transform into a straight line.

……..

I wrote this not only to emphasize the importance of looking at logarithmic scales, but also to show you how to write statistics. Here are a few takeaways:

👉Show stats through your own experience as a reader of those stats
👉Be clear and straightforward with your numbers
👉Make sure your statistics actually apply to the point you are making
👉Compare numbers to something familiar – provide context
👉Explain what to do about what you’ve found

And, needless to say, use reliable sources!

Here is a data site for your researches as a bonus 👉 https://ourworldindata.org/
                
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                    Moving away from the main topic

One of the biggest mistakes content writers make.

A couple of days ago I was reviewing an outline for an article headlined “How Much Does It Cost to Hire an App Developer?” 

In the proposed article structure the writer included the sections like:

- Mobile apps are popular among users
- What are the factors to consider when hiring a developer?
- Should you outsource a developer?
- Approximate app development prices

There wasn’t any section about the actual cost of hiring an app developer. The structure of the piece didn’t answer the question in the title. 

How bad is that?

Imagine you wanted to know how much it costs to rent a flat. You know one real estate agent who works in the area where you want to live, so you call him. Here is the conversation you’re having: 

- Hey, I wonder how much it might cost to rent a flat downtown.

- Well, let’s first talk about why you need a flat. Then, we will dwell on the factors you need to consider when choosing a flat. With this knowledge at hand, we will discuss why you should find a real estate agent to rent a flat, and not try to connect to landlords directly. And finally, we will arrive at approximate real estate prices in our city so you could understand the whole picture. 
 
Will you be willing to hire this real estate agent if he can’t answer a simple question?

Content should have a single clear central idea. Everything else that's running far away from the main point is excessive and makes writing cluttered so the readers get lost trying to figure out what’s going on.

Content that doesn’t give answers builds up no trust. And where there is no trust, there are no sales. 

Don’t try to be a politician. Stay on topic.
                
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                    Is there anybody here fascinated by microcopy?

The next thing in UX design.

The next frontier for copywriters who love small words that matter.

I’ve got a good resource for you with microcopy examples that make you glued to the screen. Good Microcopy. Check it out.

Have you ever considered microcopy as your next move in copywriting?
                
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                    What’s in it for them?

People who have a blog have one thing in common. They all want business inquiries to flood their inbox. Otherwise, why did they start blogging in the first place?

In content marketing, we’re used to setting business objectives. We make a decision on what to write based on whether we think this could bring us leads.  

But do we ever think about what’s in it for our reader? 

Our reader doesn’t care about our business objectives, nor about our company in general. They want to know what’s in it for them.

Think of your blog as a startup. What problem does it solve for its readers? What do you want them to think, feel, and do after they read your story? Will your blog achieve the product/market fit in the long run?

Putting your readers first will make your blog a must-read resource in your niche.

So here is what you need to do to change the way you approach blogging:

Finish this sentence: My reader reads my blog because I help them …

A few examples:

👉As a writer, you might want to help other writers find higher-paying clients.
👉As a web designer, you could help business owners create websites that convert more visitors into leads.
👉As a software developer, you could teach entrepreneurs how to work with remote teams effectively.

Once you figure out what’s in it for your readers, create a blog positioning statement. Here is how Shopify did it:
 
Free Business Lessons
Get the knowledge and inspiration you need to build a profitable business.

Do you know how your blog helps your readers?
                
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                    Adjectives

With our top-notch expertise in sales, we have founded a state-of-the-art sales school where we continually develop sophisticated teaching techniques to ensure the highest level of practical knowledge.

Have you understood what exactly is good about this school?

Well, I bet you haven’t. And this is because the adjectives obscure the meaning.

To fix this, all you need to do is use specific adjectives. Specific adjectives describe details and real benefits and boost the credibility of your copy. 

In our school you will learn 340 techniques for selling anything to anyone. We will teach you how to make a polished and confident sales pitch, how to ask thoughtful questions, and how to fall silent and simply listen. 87 real-world situations to help you put yourself in the salesperson’s shoes. Short videos and transcripts to help you absorb the learning. Actionable advice and constructive feedback from instructors with 20+ years of experience in sales. Are you ready to enroll?

To make your copy more persuasive and credible, use specific and sensory adjectives:

Visual - bright or drab
Tactile - sticky or polished
Sound - fizzy or chirpy
Taste - refreshing or bland
Smell - stale or fragrant

Have fun!
                
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                    What skills does a content writer need?

Once upon a time, there were merchants who sold their products and services on the internet. To get their websites rank high on Google they would hire a squad of so-called content writers to scrape stuff from Wikipedia, stuff it with keywords, and slap it on the blog. But then, Google’s algorithm got updated so sites with a low-quality keyword-stuffed copy could no longer appear at the top of searches. 

Now merchants needed to create original, engaging and useful content that would keep customers interested and guide them to a buying decision. Content writers of the past didn’t really fit for the job anymore.

What skills does a content writer need today to be able to produce content that gets the attention of customers and the ranks of Google?

Check out in my new post on Medium👇
                
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                    How to self-promote on Medium

You’re a writer, right? Writers get published. Medium is where you can do it easily. Here are a few tips on how to get published on Medium.

1. Figure out your topic and tags.
Follow the writers you’d like to keep track of, and comment on their work. Some of them will follow you back.

2. Identify target publications. Type in your topic in search —> get a list of stories on that topic —>  mouse over the publication name and it will tell you how many followers the publication has.

3. Write a good story. Check out Medium’s Curation Guidelines for tips and advice.

4. Create a great headline. Try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, to get a score for your headline. 

5. Pick out an eye-catching image. Use Unsplash, Pixabay, FreeImages or Google, just make sure you’ve set the search filter to “labeled for reuse.” Otherwise, you could be infringing on image copyright

6. Format your article – neatness and precision count. 

7. Submit your draft to publications. If a publication is accepting new writers, its ‘submissions’ page should be easy to find. Follow the instructions that are included there. Usually you’ll have to fill out a form and include a link to the draft that you’d like to submit. To create the link to your draft, click the three dots in the upper right corner of your draft and select “share draft link.” You can then copy and paste the link into the publication’s ‘request to contribute’ form.

All these tips come from this article on Medium. 

Do you write on Medium?
                
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                    A cure for sentence bloat

Eliminating the bloat in your sentences is like losing weight before summer. The result is healthy, energized, and confident words that get to the point fast without obscuring the meaning.

Let’s see how it works.

Bloated sentence:

When I started working as a marketing manager, it has given me a whole new perspective to see the bigger picture when it comes to the intricacies of aligning marketing with the overall sales strategy.

Clear and concise version:

Becoming a marketing manager has given me a new perspective on how to align sales and marketing.

How do you cure sentence bloat?

👉 Cut long sentences in two
👉 Kill unnecessary words like really, very, actually, and absolutely
👉 Upset your high school teacher; start sentences with And, But, or Or
👉 Be free to use one-word sentences where you feel like it
👉 Replace long words with their shorter versions

Losing weight is hard. Losing the bloat in your writing can be even harder. But next time you feel sorry for trimming the fat in your own work, remember this phrase:

Write without fear. Edit without mercy.
                
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                    A whole bunch of content distribution channels

Most content writers spend most of their life writing content. 

And sometimes this content – wait for this shocker – isn't going to be read.  

And when content isn’t going anywhere, good content writers get mad and say, "Well no one will read my content if it’s not promoted to target audiences through various channels!” 

And they're right about that. 

You can always hope that Google will put your content on the front page and make people who are searching for the keywords you used find it. But you shouldn’t rely on the keywords only. 

When content isn’t shared well enough through various channels and media formats, Google will go Hmmmmm maaaybe we shouldn't send people to that page. 

Which can turn into a real problem. 

To avoid that problem, here is a nice list of content distribution platforms to amplify the reach of your content. 👇
                
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                    True 😄
                
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                    Do you want to see the best examples of converting copy in your Instagram feed?

I’ve made a brand new page on Instagram called @Copy_Box. Copy stands for converting website copy. Box stands for a whole bunch of it. I find great (and shitty) copy on the internet every single day, and I just can't help sharing it with other copywriters. 

Be my guest. Follow the best 😜 👉 @Copy_Box
                
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                    How to handle clients who hate your work

You’ve been tossing around that content idea for a while. And now when you finally wrote the copy, it looks smoking hot! But then your client rips it to shreds. Sounds familiar? Creative criticism is hard to handle. But here are a few tips on how to develop a thick skin.

Get to the root of what’s wrong

“I don’t like it” is not feedback. If you get such comments on your work, ask your client to specify what isn’t working exactly and why. When things become clear, client’s feedback can actually be helpful in improving your copy.

Make good arguments

Not all clients understand what is actually going on in the copy and why you phrased it that way. That’s why you need to be able to make good arguments in a way that makes your client more receptive. Make sure you know the why behind every word. 

See things from your client’s perspective

Your client might know better than you. If they want to tweak a few things and ensure it’s word perfect, show them a little empathy. All they want is just get the right result, isn't it?

Never throw anything away

It might not work for this project, but your words could come in handy on future jobs. Whenever you write something, remember that it can be recycled and put to better use.

Have you ever received negative feedback in a way that helped you out?
                
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                    Content trends to act on in 2020

In 2019, 4.4 million blog posts were published every day. It’s more than twice the number of blog posts published 7 years ago.

Underneath those numbers is a growing industry that is making people rich. In 2020 this industry will grow even bigger. If you want to succeed in it, here are a few trends to adopt:

1. Make content easier to consume
2. Help readers get results faster
3. Create content according to the user search intent
4. Move readers to the next stage of their journey
5. Build content hubs with connections to rank better faster
6. Implement a question-driven content strategy

To learn more about what to do exactly about these trends, check out my article here.
                
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                    1 thing you didn’t know about Amazon

Amazon is an incredible source of free information that you can and should use to come up with content ideas.

It’s simply this: look up books written on your topic, browse the table of contents, and swipe content ideas from there. Done. 

For example, let’s say you need to cover DevOps on your blog to get leads interested in your company’s DevOps services. What do you write about?

Just go to Amazon, find a book called “DevOps for dummies” and check out its table of contents. How many content topics can you come up with? A whole bunch of them!

By the way, you can also mine Amazon book reviews to pull out interesting, sticky messages for your copy. 😜
                
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                    How to write Title and H1 for Google and humans

Title is the most important thing in SEO. The way you craft it will often determine if your content shows up on Google and gets clicks. Here is a small guide to learn how to write titles the best you can.

What is the difference between Title and H1?

👉Title shows on search engines and external websites.

👉H1 shows on the webpage or within the website itself.

Title and H1 should sound differently. But they both must include focus keywords that you intend to rank for. 

How long should your Title be?

You want to keep your title short enough to fit the Google search results. This generally means 60-70 characters. Keep in mind that making your title too short isn't a good idea either. Short titles might not grab the user’s attention.

How to write Titles

1. Think about your user intent and compose your title based on what they’re looking for. Are they looking for information? Solving a problem? Making a purchase? Focus on being relevant.

2. Look at what your competition is doing. Don’t copy, but get inspired. The top positions are clearly doing at least something right.
 
3. Put keywords closer to the beginning.

4. Look for secondary keywords and see if you can include them in the Title. For example, if you want to write an article targeting the keyword “how to speed up website” and your secondary keywords are “website performance optimization,” “website performance optimization techniques,” “website performance optimization tool,” your title may sound like “How to Speed Up Website | Performance Optimization Tools and Techniques"

5. If you can’t fit all the keywords you find relevant into the title, you can squeeze a couple more in the H1. Make sure you keep the focus keyword in the H1 as well.

6. If your main keyword is very short and you don’t have any secondary keywords that are relevant to add into your title, add a call to action to make it catchy.

7. Use | instead of – as a separator in your title sections. I has less pixels, so you can include more words into your title.

8. You should add your keywords in meta descriptions as well, as Google tends to ignore your meta description if it doesn’t contain the keywords the user is searching for.

9. Don’t write two or more articles competing for the same keywords. This is called keyword cannibalization, and it will affect your ranking. 

10. Make sure your title convinces users to click. If more users click on your title, Google will see that as a positive signal and reward your website with better positions.

11. Test the CTR by changing the title until you’re at least on page #1 of Google. 

12. When you update articles, make sure you don’t also modify the URL. The URL should never be changed.

13. Use different titles for different platforms. Stick with keywords on your SEO title, and use something catchy and emotional on your social media posts.

It’s best to write a title at the end of the writing process. This way it will be more relevant to the content.
                
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                    Google operators to speed up your research

Google search operators are useful when you’re researching a topic, analyzing your competition, or looking for link building opportunities. 

Here are a few common operators to try out:

1. “Quotes”

If you surround a term you’re searching for with quotation marks, you’ll get results that contain exactly that term. Add OR to that term and Google will return results that have one or the other term.

For example, if you need some data to prove your arguments, you can type in “ransomware statistics” or “ransomware growth.”

2. site:

If you want to see all of the pages in a domain, you can do that with site: If you search for something like site: techcrunch.com, you’ll get all of the URLs on this domain.

You can combine site: with other operators like quotations. For example, site: techcrunch.com “IoT” would show you only pages on techcrunch.com that mention IoT.

3. intitle: and allintitle: 

intitle: will return results that have at least one of your terms in the title, while the other one can be in the body of the page. 

If you search for something like intitle:“.NET developers” “.NET development company,” you’ll get results that have either “.NET developers” in the page and “.NET development company” in the title, or “.NET developers”” in the title and “.NET development company” in the page.

allintitle: will return results that include all the terms in the title, regardless of whether they appear in the body or not.

4. inurl: and allinurl: 

inurl: and allinurl: help you just find pages that include a specific keyword in the URL. 

5. intext: and allintext: 

Pretty straightforward. Use intext: or allintext: with your keyword to get results that include that terms in the body of the page.

6. related: 

If you use the related: operator, Google will just show you domains that it thinks are related to the one you used in the query. For example, if I use related:hubspot.com, Google will render different domains that it thinks are related or similar to Hubspot.

7. filetype: 

If you’re looking for a particular type of file, like a .pdf you can use the filetype: operator. For example, the search filetype:pdf “digital transformation" only renders PDFs that contain that keyword.

Here are a few most important Google operator use cases for copywriters:

Do research before writing content 

When you start writing content, you can use quotation operator to see what your competition has already written on the same topic. For example, let’s say I want to write a "ecommerce holiday checklist" post. I’d start by checking out the content that’s already ranking for this term. By looking at what others have written on that topic, I can come up with a better, more enticing title and meta description, include a printable version of my checklist, and create better content.

Find guest posting opportunities

By using “keyword” “write for us” search operator you can find websites that accept guest writers. For example, type in “startup ”write for us” and you will find all blogs related to startups where you can contribute a blog post.

Try these: 
“keyword” “become a contributor” 
“keyword” “submit guest post” 
“keyword” “guest post by” 
“keyword” “guest post” 
“keyword” inurl:blog “contributor guidelines” 
“keyword” inurl:blog “write for"

Find resource pages 

Resource pages are blogs that include a high number of links with helpful information. It’s a good strategy to ask them to include a link to a resource on your site. A lot of these sites use similar URL structures and naming conventions, so it’s easy to find them with search operators. For example, you could try “technology” inurl:resources. 

These combinations of search operators also work great: 
“keyword” intitle:“resources” 
“keyword” intitle:“useful resources” 
“keyword” inurl:links intitle:“link resources” 
“keyword” intitle:“useful links” 
“keyword” inurl:additional links

Which operator do you find most useful?
                
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                    How to write comments that don't get deleted

Write a good comment and you can land on the radar of a potential client, a popular blogger or super-connected influencer. In other words, people will notice. They will go to your site, comment on your blog, follow you on twitter, and even become your best friend. And what other results are you craving for with your outreach strategy?

The good news is, most comments of outreach specialists suck, so you get a real chance to stand out here.

The bad news is, writing good comments is a lot of work. But here are a few tips to get this work done:

1. 👉Greet the blog author by the name. 
2. 👉Write a sincere compliment. Tell them how much you enjoyed their great article.
3. 👉Create added value to make a positive impression. Here is how:
 • Share personal insights
 • Ask thoughtful questions
 • Contribute to the discussion
4. 👉Promise to share the article. And when you share the post on your social media platform, be sure to tag the blogger — let them know you followed through!

Next time you publish something, try to find a place where you can write a great comment to make people notice you! 👍
                
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                    6 copywriting formulas

There is one proven way to write amazing copy even when your muse doesn’t want to turn up today. What is it? Recreate the wheel.

Here’s are a few formulas tried and tested by lots of copywriters out there. Follow them in blogpost intros, in tweets, in emails, and on landing pages. 

1. 👉Before-after-bridge
Before – Here’s your world…
After – Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved…
Bridge – Here’s how to get there.

2. 👉Problem-agitate-solve 
Identify a problem
Agitate the problem
Solve the problem

3. 👉Features – Advantages – Benefits
Features – What you or your product can do
Advantages – Why this is helpful
Benefits – What it means for the person reading

4. 👉Attention – Interest – Desire – Action 
Attention – Get the reader’s attention
Interest – Interesting and fresh information that appeals to the reader
Desire – Benefits of your product/service/idea and proof that it does what you say
Action – Ask for a response

5. 👉Picture – Promise – Prove – Push (PPPP)
Picture – Paint a picture that gets attention and creates desire
Promise – Describe how your product/service/idea will deliver
Prove – Provide support for your promise
Push – Ask your reader to commit

6. 👉AICPBSAWN
Attention – Biggest benefit, biggest problem you can solve, USP
Interest – Reason why they should be interested in what you have to say
Credibility – Reason why they should believe you
Prove – Prove what you are claiming is true
Benefits – List them all (use bullets)
Scarcity – Create scarcity
Action – Tell them precisely what to do
Warn – What will happen if they don’t take action
Now – Motivate them to take action now

A great exercise is to try all of those formulas to communicate one message!
                
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                    Connection stories convert

In content marketing, we spend too much time thinking about how to get page views, and too little about how to create content that converts. This is the reason why most marketers couldn’t tell you what “the right” content looks like.

When it comes to writing compelling content, there are many things where marketers fall short. Creating a deep bond with the audience is the biggest challenge.

Connection stories convert because they tap into your audience’s core emotions. And because people feel first and think second, you get a rare chance to stop them from going to the next website and actually move them to taking action on yours. 

Being able to make a connection with your audience is a matter of taking what you know about them, and weaving it into the story. 

Here are a few tips about how you can connect with your audience in content:

👉Write like you speak
👉Use you-focused language
👉Use everyday words and exclamations like Yep or Hell no!
👉Write about your own struggles and how your readers can learn from your mistakes
👉Alienate some of your blog visitors by covering a highly debated topic
👉Look at data that most businesses (or people) wouldn’t be willing to share
👉Use analogies and metaphors to turn the unfamiliar into something familiar
👉Share your vulnerability
👉Use the phrase “remember when” to remind of shared experiences between you and your reader.
👉Create a common enemy
👉Pose questions in your text
👉Make a stance and be confident in your opinions and assertions, don’t state them with a qualifier (such as "maybe", "I believe", "it’s possible")
👉Conclude with an inspirational paragraph

Know –> Understand –> Connect
                
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                    The only thing you need to write copy that sells

Today is Black Friday, and I bet you receive tons of messages from brands trying to sell you something. Have they managed to do so?

One study analyzed what makes people buy the product and recommend it to others. 

They looked at more than 40 variables that impact the purchasing decision including price, customer’s perception of a brand, and how often they interacted with the brand. 

It turns out, the single biggest driver of a consumer’s likelihood to buy is …simplicity.

Whenever you’re writing copy that is intended to sell, the most fundamental question you should ask is “How do I keep it simple?”

A copy that sells:
👉has one goal
👉has one specific audience
👉is conversational
👉avoids jargon and insider language
👉isn’t cluttered with adjectives and adverbs

The best advice to write simple and clear copy is that: cut until it hurts. Cut everything that doesn’t add enough value, even though it might sound smart and beautiful. If it hurts to cut that sentence or paragraph because you love it, but you know it has to go, you’re on the right track.

If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.
~ Albert Einstein